Health and wellbeing architects create human environments shaped by technology, medicine and social sciences
What is health and wellbeing architecture? Laura Arpiainen, the new Professor of Practice at Aalto University, sheds some light on a question that she is frequently asked. Arpiainen teaches graduate students at Aalto School of Arts, Design and Architecture, enabling ever-deepened competencies in healthcare architecture and research.
‘Health and wellbeing architecture encompasses the design and planning of healthcare facilities and strategies for both hospital- and community-based services,’ Arpiainen describes. ‘It also includes offerings such as senior housing and various levels of residential care.’
The wellbeing aspect links to urban design, city planning, landscape architecture, and all the factors and building blocks of community health. It also responds to population-based needs such as people at risk.
‘Good design really can alleviate problems related to social isolation caused by mental health challenges, economic inequity or difficulties arising from immigration, for example,’ Arpiainen explains. ‘While the field may appear complex and technical, at its heart is always the user – and the human experience,’ she continues.
SOTERA works tirelessly for a better quality of life
The SOTERA research group at Aalto University has been active since the 1980s. It is a smart and resilient team of researchers, subject matter experts and graduate students. Among its strengths are the knowledge base the team has obtained over a significant period, and its continuous capacity to adapt to new questions and challenges presented by shifts in society. Its latest initiative involves viability strategies for towns with shrinking populations in rural Finland.
‘The future for health and wellbeing architecture in Finland looks bright,’ says Arpiainen. ‘We are exceptionally well positioned to promote the latest design, know-how and research in the field with our longstanding national commitment to health, social equity and excellence in care delivery.’
The connection between the built environment and health is a core focus area for her and the SOTERA team, and they are constantly keeping their ears to the ground for new challenges and partners. You can read more about SOTERA’s research from Aalto University’s What if... story.
SOTERA organises an international seminar on health and wellbeing architecture every second year. The Spring 2019 seminar on 20–21 May takes place at Oodi, Helsinki’s new central library. More information about the programme and timetable will be available on the SOTERA website closer to the event.
Health and wellbeing represent one of the key research areas of the university. Promoting research and providing technologies for the use of innovations, growth companies and business in general are at the core of what we do. You can support the research on health and wellbeing by donating here. More information about this and our other donation options is available on our website.